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Fast Facts

POP Culture: 1860

ICONS: Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, Transcontinental Railroad
Abraham Lincoln Civil War Transcontinental Railroad

  • The Pony Express leaves Sacramento, CA, for St. Joseph, MO, on April 3, 1860.
  • On February 9, 1861, after resigning from the U.S. Senate, Jefferson Davis is selected to be the provisional President of the Confederate States of America.
  • Confederate forces begin bombarding Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861.
  • Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow publishes Paul Revere's Ride in 1861.
  • President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law on May 20, 1862, giving applicants freehold title to land, typically 160 acres, of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River.
  • On September 17, 1862, the bloodiest single-day battle in American history is fought near Sharpsburg, MD, and Antietam Creek.
  • The "New York City Draft Riots" rage from July 13 to July 16, 1863, following the passage of a draft law to supply men to the Union Army.
  • Novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne dies on May 19, 1864, in Plymouth, NH.
  • On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth during the play Our American Cousin. Lincoln died the following morning at 7:22.
  • Mark Twain publishes his first successful short story, "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog," in The Saturday Press on November 18, 1865.
  • Russia finalizes its sale of Alaska to the United States, on March 30, 1867.
  • Louisa May Alcott publishes Little Women in 1868.
  • Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant beats New York Governor Horatio Seymour in the 1868 presidential election.
  • Ceremonies at Promontory, UT, celebrate completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

The 1860 Census


10 Largest Urban Places

U.S. Resident Population: 31,443,321 Rank Place Population
Population per square mile of land area: 10.6 1 New York City, NY 813,669
Percent increase of population from 1850 to 1860: 35.6 2 Philadelphia, PA 565,529
Official Enumeration Date: June 1 3 Brooklyn, NY 266,661
Number of States: 33 4 Baltimore, MD 212,418
Cost: $1,969,000 5 Boston, MA 177,840
Cost per Capita (cents): 6.3 6 New Orleans, LA 168,675
Total Pages in Published Reports: 3,189 7 Cincinnati, OH 161,044
Number of Enumerators: 4,417 8 St. Louis, MO 160,773
Number of Office Staff: 184 9 Chicago, IL 112,172
Census Bureau Director: Joseph C.G. Kennedy 10 Buffalo, NY 81,129
Number of Questions Asked: 14

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 05, 2022